Fact Based Quiz Ideas For Turning 3s into 4s and 5s

Briefing Pack

By Melanie Jones, published 19th June 2011

Please note: this resource pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content and links may be outdated.

If you are looking to raise your 3/4 grades into 4s/5s, a big focus is going to be fact retention. This can be in the form of fact based quizzes and organisational activities, but also in the form of starter quizzes and plenaries. Below are a few ideas that move away from the basic idea of a quick test or hot-seat style.

1.) A Question of...This follows the Question of Sport numbers round idea. See our example on 19th century surgery and hospitals. You can replace any image with one you feel is relevant, and use for different topics. 

2.) Who wants to be a millionaire? This follows the famous gameshow format and can be adapted for any topic you wish, or general revision. See our example on general revision for Germany 1918-45, the template for which comes from the TES website. It can be adapted for any topic and any set of questions. 

3.) How about putting music to a historic event? You can either use a favourite traditional song, or a pop song of the moment, or get your students to make up their own. Look at these examples from Youtube. One is about the Battle of Hastings, and the other the Black Death but you get the idea! They are produced by a group called the "historyteachers" and they feature a whole host of songs based around different topics. It is amazing what the power of putting facts to music can do for fact retention, although cheesy and simplistic at the same time!  

4.) How about fact dominoes? It is a great game to encourage kids to remember facts and link them together. Simply make sets of domino cards made up of a combination of people, events, places, dates and other facts and get students to work on them in groups or pairs. They should deal out the dominoes until they are all dished out and then take it in turns to lay them, making sure that they are able to justify a link as they lay them down. Check out our grid for an example. It can be adapted for any topic. 

5.) Fact board games. Based on snakes and ladders or monopoly, students can either play a game of your design, or make one of their own to try out on their classmates. The aim is that each square should be filled either with a fact, or contain a fact based question. Or you could use question cards if they land on a question square. You could give them a feel for positive and negative events by making them climb ladders or slide down snakes if they land on particular fact squares. 

6.) Quick fire quiz rounds are great for healthy competition. You can get students working in groups and give them a fact puzzle to solve. The first team to solve it wins. Another route might be to put some jumbled facts up on the board, either with blu-tac or smart-board and the winning team will be the ones who can re-arrange it fastest. 

7.) What about using washing lines? Again, this can be done in teams and is a great exercise for arranging facts in order and putting them together. Simply make sure you have enough pegs and string erected across the classroom for each team and then hand each team a pre-prepared list of facts, one fact per A4 page. The team must match the date with the fact and hang them up in chronological order. The winning team is the first to do it correctly. You can also do this for any fact based quiz, for example putting the key strands of an event or development in the correct order, or putting reasons for something or consequences in order of importance. If you take the trouble to make a decent set of A4 cards for each team, it can also make a nice display once completed too! 

8.) What about a game of heads, shoulders, knees and toes? This is an active game, and could be used as a re-focus. If you want students to remember definitions, this is a good one to try. You will already have taught them their definitions in a previous lesson and now you want them to remember them and apply them. Write the four key words that you want to focus on on the board. and next to each one, write down whether they are meant to touch their heads, shoulders, knees or toes. Then in a game that starts slowly, and gets quicker and quicker, you must fire the definitions at them and they must decide which word it belongs to and touch their heads, shoulders, knees or toes accordingly. This works well for political defintions, especially if you do it several times over a few lessons for reinforcement. An example could be to use the key causes of World War I, nationalism, imperialism, alliances and militarism, or some of the key political; camps in Weimar Germany; communism, fascism, conservative, socialist. You could add further parts of the body if you wanted to include more words, or to make it harder, i.e. the nose, mouth, eyes and ears! 

9.) Fact Taboo. You could try starting or ending each lesson with one or two rounds of fact taboo. You could have a series of these written down in a book covering each topic that you will teach throughout the year, so that you can just delve into it when necessary. This is another great way for helping your students to remember facts and link them to descriptions and other relevant things. The idea is to get them to describe a fact without actually saying the word, or any related word, for example:

The Wall Street Crash:

You must not say: Wall Street, 1929, economic, depression, crash. 

10.) Get the students to do it! Why not include as part of homework that each lesson, a different pupil must take their turn to come up with a 4 question quiz on the teaching topic? The idea being that they must research and know the answers and then each lesson a different pupil starts the lesson with a quick fire quiz - you could dish out stickers or sweets to all of those who got 4/4. Believe it or not, even GCSE pupils are not too old for stickers and sweets!

 11.) Display fact posters around your room. Ask pupils which facts are missing. 

12.) Fact Blockbusters. Those of you old enough to remember that famous quiz show of the 1980s hosted by Bob Holness will already be familiar with the format. For those of you who are not so sure, why not check out our examples on trench warfare, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Russia and Germany 1918-45? The template can be adapted for any topic you like.

13.) Just a minute. This is a fun game to play with pupils. It involves making a set of dates, names and events. They should be cut up and put into a hat or bowl. The student picks out a slip and then has one minute to talk on that date, name or event. This can be timed by other pupils and no repetition or hesitation is allowed.

Good Luck!

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